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Arena football returns to Albany

by af2 Press Release
June 20, 2001 - arenafootball2 (af2)

50 Yard Indoor War To Return To Albany

af2 Press Release

ALBANY, NY - The league office of arenafootball2 announced today that Albany, New York has received unanimous approval from the af2 Board of Directors as the newest addition to the planned expansion for the 2002 season.

From its inception in 2000, af2 has grown from fifteen teams to twenty-eight teams for the current season, and is on course to add an additional ten to fourteen teams for play in 2002. The strategic plan of arenafootball2 concentrates on the development of regional divisions designed to minimize travel costs and create local rivalries.

The af2 was created as a league of opportunity for players, fans, officials, and sports enthusiasts across the country that could not otherwise experience professional football. Af2 features the same heart stoppin', helmet poppin', in your face football as the AFL. After the 2000 season, 33 af2 players graduated to the AFL, two players have moved to NFL training camp rosters, and five players are currently playing in NFL Europe.

This will mark the return of Arena Football to the City of Albany after a one year absence. Albany was home to the Albany Firebirds from 1990-2000. The Firebirds won the ArenaBowl Championship in 1999 defeating the Orlando Predators 59-48 in front of a sold out crowd of 13,652 fans.

"I am very excited to be able to bring Arena Football back to Albany," said Albany businessman and owner of the Albany af2 team Glenn Mazula. "The fan support for Arena Football was tremendous with the Firebirds, and I am sure that fans will support these players in their quest to win the ArenaCup Championship in af2."

"The Albany community are true Arena Football fans and we have waited in anticipation to bring back the game they have come to love," said af2's Executive Director Mary Ellen Garling. "Glenn Mazula is one of the most respected owners in Arena Football and has a tremendous passion for the city of Albany and its fans, a true love affair that we are pleased to reunite in arenafootball2."

The management staff for the Albany af2 team will be appointed within the next few weeks and team headquarters will be located in Pepsi Arena, where all home games will be played. A team name and logo will be announced in the near future. Fans can lock up season tickets starting today with only a $25 deposit by calling the Pepsi Arena Box Office at (518) 487-2085. Former Albany Firebirds season ticket holders will have the opportunity to purchase the same seats for Albany af2 as they held for the Firebirds.

"This is great news for Albany County and Pepsi Arena," said Albany County Executive Mike Breslin. "Football fans throughout the Capital Region will be thrilled to have Arena Football back at the Pepsi."

"We are very excited that Arena Football is coming back to the Capital Region," said SMG general manager Bob Belber. "Over the past eleven years, the fans of the Capital Region have supported Arena Football and I am confident they will continue to do so in the years to come."

Albany marks the third arenafootball2 expansion team for the 2002 season; af2 previously announced Bakersfield, CA and Mobile, AL. This year's Championship game, ArenaCup 2001, will again be televised in prime-time on The National Network ("TNN") on Friday, August 10 at 8:00 PM ET/PT. The 2001 af2 playoffs begin on July 27/28.

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